Categories
art drawing

more drawing

Doing some work on my large drawing today, the one based on ripples in water.

I’ve added egg tempera paint, made with egg yolk, pigment and water – a most magical substance with a beautiful surface and shine. Just mixing it is such a pleasure!

Categories
art drawing

on drawing

I’ve been sitting at my desk for a lot of today, finding words about hope, and continuing with the reading that I am doing about the work of Joseph Beuys.

Sitting at my desk with my back to the large drawing I’ve started and not giving it any thought. It is behind me because I had nailed the paper to the only possible wall, right behind my desk. Charcoal dust all over the floor and the soles of my feet, all over the dog and the piles of books. Its not lovely…

And, turning around, it has to be said that overall this drawing is not pleasing to me. I am speaking about this here, in order to be honest with myself, and to express to myself, in front of you, that sometimes things look very difficult and messy, and there is no certainty at all that they will mean or be anything useful. And this is difficult. One becomes invested in a work, in a certain outcome. Or worse, having embarked on something without being able to see a way clear, one starts to lose faith that there is a way clear, or that the journey is justified at all.

I have no idea where I am going with this drawing. There are some things that are good about it, an energy and a rhythm in places. I am starting to imagine ways that it will become material that I can turn into a book, or perhaps the inside of a box. But I also feel certain that it will need more work first. More attention. And the possibility remains that it might never be useful at all.

Which reminds me that in the course of my research today, I did read Joseph Beuys in conversation on the process of creating, saying something that I found interesting about quality, and mistakes:

“So the criteria for something …. as to its quality, can again really only be discussed in direct relation to something, by circling around it a thousand times, looking at it and trying different things out. Above all, it becomes interesting when you’ve completed something and think it’s perfect; and then suddenly see that in fact it’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done. And then you have to rework it, in other words, correct it, and that’s particularly difficult. But it also has the enormous advantage that only now can you draw something out of it which never occurred to you as a possibility before, because it wasn’t at all visible. The mistake one makes in the first attempt can turn out to be an extraordinary gift as far as the work is concerned….. One learns an enormous amount from mistakes in particular, as long as one doesn’t tire too easily and say: Oh no, it’s no good – I’ll leave it and start something new. If one says: This mistake is something that I’m not just going to leave as it is, but I’ll make something of this mistake, which is much better than I originally envisaged…”

(From the book ‘What is Art’, Conversation with Joseph Beuys. Edited with essays by Volker Harlan, 2004).

Categories
art painting

scroll forms, watercolour

Making maquettes of scroll forms in watercolour this evening – working from memories of making the short film yesterday.

Categories
art

three small joys

Categories
art drawing

playtime

I am very happy to report that it has been PLAYTIME today, with the marvellous Gwendraeth Arts Lab online drawing session, run by Roz Moreton .

Categories
art

a box for joys

a box for joys, made today and sent out in the post

Categories
art reflection

post office

The girl in the post office said I have to ask you what’s in the envelope, for safety. Its just paper, I said. And is there anything of value in there? she said. Yes, I said, its art.

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Uncategorized

boxes

I spent some time today reverse engineering little boxes of raisins ( I took the raisins out first). Before that, I’d also spent quite a while examining matchboxes in our massive new Home Bargains, and measuring them with my tape-measure, before rejecting them. I was quite careful about spreading infection, and I also needed some other things for the house, but I still felt a bit guilty about the global pandemic, and wondered how essential the work was. Many people were in each shop. I saw no-one else doing as I was doing, although many people were dithering, and looking like they were having a good day out. [And one woman was walking up and down holding a tablecloth in a packet and having a lengthy video call about it. Actually she reminded me of two women I once saw at the National Museum and Gallery for Wales in Cardiff. I had travelled 100 miles to see a painting of a cathedral by Constable that was on loan to the gallery, and which was indeed very impressive. They had also borrowed a few others, including a beautiful painting by Van Gogh. I was standing and looking and thinking about paintings, when two women came by with a stroller, saying something about ‘that would look nice in the living room on the wall behind the sofa’, which was a bit strange because Constable made very big paintings. So I was wondering about what kind of house they lived in, and I listened more as they walked across the room and out the other side, and I realised that they were actually talking about the wall-paper, and did not glance at any painting in the room. This was a very interesting and very grounding experience for me. I’m not exactly sure why the woman in the shop reminded me of the encounter, something about the intensity.]

The decision is a difficult one. Matchboxes are in many ways nicer. But raisin boxes are easier to make and have a certain charm…

Categories
art reflection

do one small thing

The work on my bench this evening. Back to small steps. Undefeated.